MVRHS drama class creates a musical from an Irish fairy tale

Leah Casey played a fisherman in the Martha's Vineyard Regional High School drama department's musical play "The Enchanted Cap." The play was written and performed by the students. — Photo by Ralph Stewart

“This is one of my favorite plays I’ve ever been to.” “I liked the play a lot and the songs.” ” I liked the backgrounds.” “I really liked the singing.” “I thought Alana (a guitar-playing mermaid played by Megan Bischoff) had a beautiful voice.” “I loved the way you used the sparkles, me too, me too, I loved the sparkles.” “Why did you use the rubber chicken?”

These were just a few of the many responses from the Tisbury and Oak Bluffs elementary students who attended the premier of “The Enchanted Cap,” a play, with songs that was written, produced, and performed by underclassmen in the drama program at the Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School.

Inspired by an Irish fairy tale about a fisherman who marries a mermaid, the play involves a very funny priest, several mermaids, a Vineyard-like fisherman, and the children of the marriage. It has a bittersweet ending.

The elementary school students filled the lower level of seating at the high school’s performing arts center Friday morning for a special performance just for them. The audience’s appreciation for the musical was marked by their rapt attention and their enthusiasm at all the right places.

Dozens of hands were raised when the actors took their positions sitting on the edge of the stage to answer questions after the play. Here are some of the interactions, slightly edited.

Q- “Why did you want to do a play?”

A- “It was a project for our drama class and we made it.”

Q- “How long did it take to make the play?”

A- “A long time (a lot of laughter). We’ve been working on it since September.”

Q- How did you guys choose each part?

A- “We picked out our favorite characters and we tried out for the parts after we wrote the play.”

Q- “I love those songs. How did you write the songs?”

A- “They took a long time. We spent hours on them. We wrote the words first, like we were writing a poem and then made up music to go along with the words.”

Q- “Did you guys make the costumes or what? I liked those costumes.”

A- “We mostly found them in different places. There are a lot of costumes to choose from all over this place. We put them together. We didn’t actually make them ourselves.”

Q- “Did you make the backgrounds? I liked the backgrounds.”

A- “Yes, we painted them and did everything.”

Q- “Did you, like, take a guitar class here?

A- “No, I was self taught.

Q- “What was the hardest part of making the play?”

A- “Writing it all down, setting the timing while we were putting the sets out.”

Q- “What was your favorite part of the show?”

A- “Performing for you.”

Q- “This was my favorite. I liked the play a lot and I liked the songs in the play.”

A- “Thank you (as a chorus.)”

Why did they use the rubber chicken? Drama instructor Kate Murray took that question. “Because their crazy director (referring to herself) thought it was funny.”

One of the student actor/writers chimed in, “and we didn’t have a rubber starfish.”